The Babylon Bee, where snark flourishes, has offered us a commemoration:

Nation Prepares To Celebrate 1st Anniversary Of Two Weeks To Flatten The Curve

The humor-impaired and virus-aggressive will bristle at this joke, as much because of the truths it rests upon as anything else, while the rest of us lament the continued damage being done by ineffective and counter-productive restrictions on businesses and daily lives. Indeed, the “Neanderthals” in Texas are no worse off, COVID-wise, than the enlightened bunker-living blue staters that mock them, and far better off economically. But, don’t you dare try to tell that to the control freaks at the top of the COVID pyramid.

For it is a simple fact of human nature that people rarely relinquish control voluntarily once they’ve seized it.

Exhibit 1: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who simultaneously tells us to get vaccinated and that getting vaccinated isn’t enough to go back to living our pre-COVID lives. I surmise that he is in love with his new-found rock star status (at least from the Left’s perspective), and that his dread of returning to the relative obscurity of his pre-pandemic world is at the root of his “masks and distancing forever” message.

Exhibit 2: NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, who continues to mandate senseless rules for restaurants, bars, and eateries, including his “no alcohol without food” rule, despite a rapidly increasing percentage of vaccinateds and despite no evidence that relaxing restrictions spreads the bug any wider. I think he’s looking to maintain the (farcical, given the recent revelations) narrative that he was a “man of action” and a measured, wise leader in a time of crisis, and to distract from his burgeoning scandals (including the murderous nursing home policy that puts the lie to any notion of quality leadership).

Exhibit 3: Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum:

The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.

That collectivistic thinking is enjoying a renaissance, thanks to the Pandemic, and to global warming before it, is a horrific betrayal of the hundred-plus million that were killed by last century’s collectivist nations. The hammer-and-sickle has a far greater body count than the swastika, yet only the latter is abhorred while the former is repopularized.

This is the hubris of the Best-and-Brighest, who not only believe they are far smarter than the unwashed masses (they probably are), but conclude that this entitles/obligates them to run our lives for us. For our own good, and despite our wishes.

Let’s roll the WABAC machine just a few years, and revisit a statement by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.

Yes, indeed, climate change was seen as an opportunity to break from the free enterprise model that elevated billions from subsistence living to the highest living standards in human history, even as collectivist systems kept billions in misery and poverty. Even as socialism/communism destroyed the Aral Sea, turned the air brown, foisted Chernobyl upon the world, and produced decreasing life spans. American capitalism produced the reduction in carbon emissions that happened even as she quit the Paris Accords, while China only promises to stop increasing emissions a decade from now.

Climate change didn’t prove to be the great wedge that would crack the much-detested capitalism (that is blamed for countless things more accurately attributable to government meddling and corporatism), perhaps because its time horizon is too long. COVID’s far greater immediacy put the salivary glands of the Best-and-Brighest into overdrive, and the fear-based control over our lives that they’ve seized is to be retained and nurtured forever.

Most of us hope for a time when we can resume our pre-COVID lives, when we can go out to a restaurant or a bar without masks or social distancing or plexiglass, when we can shake hands again, when our kids can go to school again, when we can walk the aisles of a store or supermarket without being looked at suspiciously. This normalcy is not something the mandarins, apparatchiks, nannies, and control-freaks have any interest in permitting. It’d lessen their stature and deflate their egos, and heaven knows that some puffed-up public “servant’s” ego is more important than your liberties.

A political friend lamented the perpetual moving of the goalposts. We went from “flattening the curve,” where the (good) goal was to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow the economic machine time to shift to pandemic production, to a far more dubious and unachievable goal seemingly based on “every new infection is a failure.” While it is a reality that COVID will be part of our landscape for many years, if not forever, it’s also a reality that we witness tens of thousands of flu deaths every year, and don’t destroy economies in response. COVID, we know, is substantially more deadly for some demographic groups than the flu, and it’s more communicable than the flu, and there was, even in hindsight, justification for some of the restrictions imposed. But, at this point, with nearly a quarter of the nation vaccinated, and many more having had the bug and (presumably) carrying some degree of immunity apart from vaccination – and the empirical evidence that “open” states are faring no worse than “closed” states, the logic of lockdowns is collapsing. We will not be able to wholly eradicate this bug from our lives, and we shouldn’t burn the house down trying.

This logic is, however, of little interest to the powers-that-be. The pandemic was an opportunity for imposing control, and that’s the real end-game of far too many of those who are in positions of public service. More than anything else, they want the power to do what they wish, and they expect (nay, demand) that they be obeyed.

Indeed, being disobeyed is, to them, justification for extending restrictions and lockdowns, as if we are children to be punished rather than citizens to be served. It is only when we recognize this motivation that we can respond as we should.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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